Your Kids, Video Games and Fruit

If you have a tough time getting your children to eat fruit, you might consider unplugging their video games.

In what some may consider a complete waste of time and money, researchers in the Netherlands have unearthed a fact that most parents have known for a while:  Kids who play video games promoting fruit don’t crave apples, oranges, grapes, kiwi or any other type of fresh produce upon completing the online challenges.

According to the new study, published in the American Journal of Clinical Nutrition, Dutch scientists expected their young research participants to crave more wholesome snacks after playing video games which painted fruit in a positive light.  Turns out the kids were hungry after playing the online games, but chose to nosh on high calorie treats rather than fresh fruit.

Researchers say the study’s results should serve as a warning to moms and dads:  Parents need to be extra cautious about allowing their children to play computer games affiliated with popular food brands.  For example, McDonald’s, Juicy Juice and Cap’n Crunch cereal all feature online game options on their websites.  However, when researchers had the elementary school-aged participants play video games, similar to the ones included on the aforementioned sites, they ended up eating more calories than kids who played games that promoted a toy or who didn’t play games at all.

According to the study’s author, the children who played fruit-related games consumed 183 calories.  In comparison, kids who played toy-promoting games ate 130 calories worth of snack foods, and kids who didn’t play any video games ate just 106 calories.

Researchers say it’s important for parents to monitor which websites their children are using to play games, as they can negatively influence kids’ food choices.

Would you allow your kids to play more video games if it meant they would eat more fruit?


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Michele Cheplic

About Michele Cheplic

Michele Cheplic was born and raised in Hilo, Hawaii, but now lives in Wisconsin. Michele graduated from the University of Wisconsin-Madison with a degree in Journalism. She spent the next ten years as a television anchor and reporter at various stations throughout the country (from the CBS affiliate in Honolulu to the NBC affiliate in Green Bay). She has won numerous honors including an Emmy Award and multiple Edward R. Murrow awards honoring outstanding achievements in broadcast journalism. In addition, she has received awards from the Aircraft Owners and Pilots Association for her reports on air travel and the Wisconsin Education Association Council for her stories on education. Michele has since left television to concentrate on being a mom and freelance writer.